Saturday, April 24, 2004

MIND GAMES

Sound of timber

Dear Puzzled,

You look more puzzled than ever; ever wonder why? Letting go of the advantage, that’s typically you. You don’t see things coming, do you? Now you have three more friends, your top-order batsmen. To let me go away or not to let me go away on Friday the 13th was the question. Your Hamletian dilemma could only end in a tragedy. The writing was on the wall, but your top three batsmen were looking the other way. They look more positive though. Your decision was to let me go on every 13th that fell on a Friday.

 The 13th of every month is more likely to fall on a Friday.

“Your decision was wise,” says Sidharth Khanna (Grade XI, Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School, Sarabha Nagar, Ludhiana), “because in a given year there would either be just one month or at the most three months for which the 13th of the month would fall on a Friday. Friday the 13th can occur in two consecutive months only in February and March in a year that is not a leap.

Detailed explanation: Let us check out non-leap years first. If the first day of the year is on a Monday, then Friday the 13th is in July/April.

If the first day of the year is on a Tuesday, then Friday the 13th is in September/ December.

If the first day of the year is on a Wednesday, then Friday the 13th is in June. If the first day of the year is on a Thursday, then Friday the 13th is in February/March/ November.

If the first day of the year is on a Friday, then Friday the 13th is in August. If the first day of the year is on a Saturday, then Friday the 13th is in May.

If the first day of the year is on a Sunday, then Friday the 13th is in January.

For the leap years, if the first day of the year is on a Monday, then Friday the 13th is in: September/December.

If the first day of the year is on a Tuesday, then Friday the 13th is in June.

If the first day of the year is on a Wednesday, then Friday the 13th is in March/ November.

If the first day of the year is on a Thursday, then Friday the 13th is in February/ August.

If the first day of the year is on a Friday, then Friday the 13th is in May. If the first day of the year is on a Saturday, then Friday the 13th is in October.

If the first day of the year is on a Sunday, then Friday the 13th is in January/April/July.

All options, that have been covered, reveal that regardless of which day of the week a year starts, or whether or not it is a leap year, every year has some combination of 1, 2, or 3 months where 13th is a Friday. Since the least amount of times that there are Friday the 13ths in any given year is 1, and the most being 3, every year has at least 1 and at most 3 Friday the 13ths. Dear puzzled, if you had chosen some other day for your misfortune, there would have been more days on the 13th in a year than Friday the 13th.”

“There is probability of getting the Friday once in 214 days, so to delay the misfortune, it is a better way that you chose,” says Rakesh Satija.

“You’d be even happier,” says Vimal Jit Kaur. “Every calendar repeats itself after 6 or 11 years, but excluding leap years. A leap-year calendar repeats itself after 28 years, so there becomes a pattern in 28 years, which repeats again and again in the multiples of 28. This way, you would let Miss Fortune go out only for 48 days in 28 years,” she says. There go your top three, without troubling the score keeper. First-ball ducks for each. They had been so consistent till now. A juicy full toss is almost always the ideal delivery in most situations. Give them my love. Learn to live with Misfortune.

Truly not yours,

Miss Fortune